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Uniform Requirements — Nevada and Federal Law

Volume 5, Issue 14
November 3, 2006

Requiring employees to wear a certain uniform implicates both Nevada and federal law which impose requirements that warrant a brief review.

Section 608.165 of the Nevada Revised Statutes requires employers to provide to employees, without cost, all uniforms or accessories distinctive as to style, color or material. If the uniform requires special cleaning or cannot be easily laundered by the employee, the employer must also clean such uniform or accessory without cost to the employee.

Under federal wage and hour laws, employers cannot deduct the costs of purchasing or maintaining required uniforms if the deduction would reduce an employee's wages below the minimum wage. One federal court has addressed the definition of uniform under federal law in Ayres v. 127 Rest. Corp., 12 F. Supp. 2d 305, 310 (S.D.N.Y. 1998), explaining:

If an employer merely prescribes a general type of ordinary basic street clothing to be worn while working and permits variations in details of dress the garments chosen would not be considered to be uniforms. On the other hand, where the employer does prescribe a specific type and style of clothing to be worn at work, e.g., where a restaurant or hotel requires a tuxedo or a skirt and blouse or jacket of a specific or distinctive style, color, or quality, such clothing would be considered uniforms.

Given the recent increase in wage and hour lawsuits by plaintiff-employees, those employers with uniform requirements are wise to review their uniform policies to ensure compliance with state and federal law.

The state statute addressing uniform requirements can be viewed by clicking on the following link:
http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-608.html#NRS608Sec0165

Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.